July 29, 2023
Hello for the last time!
To say we had a blast exploring the Croatian coast would be an understatement. Although only in Croatia for two nights, we had a jam packed time full of nothing but fun! We woke up bright and early excited to head out to the water and get some much needed sun! We hopped in the vans and headed down the island to our kayaking spot! However, because of early morning winds, we had some time to spare before setting out on the water. Luckily there was a Wibet aqua park right nearby. We surprised the group by taking them on this aqua park! It was like a giant obstacle course with slides, monkey bars, blobs, etc. all on top of the water! We were like little kids on a playground, running all around dying laughing. Owen had us all in tears because he couldn’t make it 3 steps without slipping and falling (safely!). The group conducted an intricate race on the course and named us (Woods and Parker) the judges. Deyo, determined to win, slipped climbing up the rope wall and got stuck on the rope! She was laughing so hard. Parker went running over to help her and slipped and fell into the water, sending Deyo into an even heavier laugh. Although she came in last, her efforts deemed her first place in our minds. After a great laugh and unforgettable competition on the aqua park, we grabbed a partner and jumped in kayaks. We paddled throughout the beautiful Adriatic Sea to a hidden cave. Dynamic duo, Ann and Chase, more commonly known as “Chann,” mastered the strong currents as partners. They were giggling and singing songs and capturing every moment on the GoPro. When we arrived at the cave, we put on goggles and swam around exploring the cracks and crevices of the cave. Afterwards, we scaled up a rock to a 6 meter high cliff jump! The group, especially Charlotte, loved the thrilling jump of the cliffs. She went back for several more jumps and couldn’t get enough! Afterwards, we paddled back, taking in the gorgeous scenic views of the Adriatic. Working up a large appetite, we stopped at a farm-to-table restaurant for lunch! Katie Grace excitedly ordered the meatballs and spaghetti, both made from scratch at the farm, and enjoyed every bite. After lunch, we grabbed a scoop of ice cream and headed back to relax at our campsite, playing games and swimming! We then devoured a delish dinner and had Moonup on the rocky shore. After Moonup, there was disco DJ playing at the campsite, so we obviously joined the dance party for a few minutes of fun before heading to bed!
The next day, we woke up eager to start our last full day together. We headed to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, saying bye to our beloved home in Croatia! Upon arrival in Ljubljana, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to Jaka and Alesh, as their time with us was coming to an end. They were not only amazing guides, but also newfound friends. Holtie shed many tears saying bye to them and acknowledged that they were two of the coolest people he’d ever met. After a sad farewell, we hit the town in search of lunch! On Fridays there is a huge outdoor market full of foods, flowers, trinkets, souvenirs, gifts, etc. We all grabbed different lunches in the market! Luke spotted a rib place and recruited Owen and Frank to get ribs with him. They devoured every last rib and could not have been happier. After lunch, we wandered around, weaving in and out of shops. Avery led the souvenir hunt, searching for gifts to bring to her family back home. The group followed her lead and they all found wonderful things to remember the trip by! Ellis was especially eager to talk to the artisans and shop keepers. She befriended many of them and loved hearing their life stories! After exploring every inch of the city, we headed to a gourmet pizza place for our banquet dinner. At dinner we enjoyed the best pizza ever together, as we reflected on the amazing time we had throughout the trip. After two weeks, Frank still had yet to discover the answer to the hat riddle. He finally caved and we told him the answer. Frank was in shock and disbelief at the answer, but excited to finally understand it. We all got a good laugh at his reaction! After dinner, we grabbed gelato and headed to the park to circle up for our last Moonup together. We laughed and cried, sharing our favorite funny memories and the important life lessons we will take home with us.
Although we are sad to say goodbye to the group, we feel so lucky to have had the absolute time of our lives exploring Slovenia together. Thank you for giving your children the chance to experience Moondance with us this summer! We have never laughed harder or had more fun than we did these past two weeks. Thank you again! It’s not goodbye, it’s just we’ll talk to you later!
All the best,
Parker and Woods
July 26, 2023
HEY from the Croatian coast!!!! We have had a wonderful past couple of days in the Soca Valley region exploring a new part of Slovenia! We woke up Monday morning, excited to see what this beautiful Soca River was all about. We headed out to white water raft in two boats! We paddled our way down the crystal-clear waters of the river, stopping to jump and slide down nearby rocks! We all felt like penguins sliding on our bellies down upside down rafts. It was so much fun! We even got to jump off a super high rock! Everyone scaled up the rock and then leaped into the water! It was thrilling. After rafting, we fueled up on delicious pasta made by our amazing Chef George! After relaxing and playing games at the campsite, we headed out to a hidden waterfall close by. After a short ten-minute hike down, we turned the corner to find an absolutely stunning waterfall. Charlotte was first to take the risk and jump into the freezing water. The swimmers among the group voted this water the coldest, but as Holtie says “see water swim water.” So, this didn’t stop us from swimming and playing around. After the waterfall hike and exploration, we freshened up in the amazing showers at our glamping campsite. Woods pulled out Bananagrams, his all-time favorite game that he never loses. He recruited some others to play, and before the first round was even finished Frank and Ellis were hooked. It’s day 3 of the Bananagram tournament, and their competitiveness is only growing. Maybe one day they will beat Woods the legend (This is Parker, and I would like to say that I did beat him one time and it was absolutely epic). After some rounds of games and cards, we feasted on George’s amazing dinner and then made a fire to roast s’mores for a special treat! We then fell asleep to the background noise of storms and rain!
We woke up in the morning, bummed that it was still storming, but excited to see what the day had in store for us. Unfortunately, because of the bad weather, canyoneering was cancelled. So instead, we loaded up the vans and headed to a WW1 Museum nearby. During our tour, we examined artifacts and pictures from the war and watched a short clip on the battle of Kobarid. Holtie was the only one who sat in the front row, and boy was he soaking in that information. It’s so cool to learn about history that happened right where you are! Afterwards we all grabbed a scoop of ice cream and headed back for lunch! In the afternoon, we held a volleyball tournament recruiting a couple of young kids also staying at the campsite to aid our teams. Owen, using his height to his advantage, stood closest to the net destroying any ball that came his way. We were all impressed with his newfound volleyball skills. After a good volleyball game, we set up a puzzle for the group. It was a word scramble they needed to solve to find out what mystery activity we were doing next! Since canyoneering was cancelled, we had to surprise the group with something just as fun! So, we grabbed our helmets and harnesses and hit the zip lines! We zip lined across the canyon with insane views. We were so high up we had panoramic views of the town below! Our group responded to zip lining quite differently. We had Chase, being her daredevil, hilarious self, flipping upside down and screaming the whole way down! On the other hand, we had Avery who was Zen the entire time. She was in awe of the views and was just really taking it all in. We had an absolute blast during our impromptu activity! Afterwards, we headed back for vegetable soup with dumplings for dinner and homemade crepes for dessert.
The next day, we excitedly embarked on our journey to a new country, Croatia! We were sad to leave the amazing glamping site we called home for three nights but were incredibly pumped to go explore a new place. Along the way, we stopped in a small town known as the “Slovenian Tuscany” for a cooking class. Everyone donned their aprons and best chef voices as they began prepping our four-course meal! Ann was put in charge of the polenta, impressively commanding the middle countertops with her use of massive spoons and bowls that were not for the weak of the heart! Meanwhile, Katie Grace whipped up a beautifully designed apple pie that caught all of our attention due to her diligent eye for design – the pie looked straight out of a magazine photo shoot! After prepping all the food, we sat down and enjoyed a delicious lunch full of laughter as we taste tested everyone’s creations.
After lunch, we continued driving towards Croatia and finally made it to our beautiful coastal campsite in Premantura. The water was unbelievably blue, and everyone was excited to get right in and enjoy it. Luke and Deyo were so eager that they led some of the group to do a nighttime swim in the ocean after dinner! We had a blast doing a sort-of polar plunge while letting the salty water keep us afloat. Needless to say, this served as a great sneak peak of our next activity, sea kayaking. We are so excited to be able to explore Croatia over the next couple days and look forward to getting out on the water tomorrow. We will update y’all soon!!!!
Parker + Woods
July 23, 2023
Hello from the gorgeous Julian Alps of Slovenia!!! Our four fabulous days of trekking went by way too fast but were absolutely unreal and we can’t wait to fill y’all in!
We woke up Thursday morning eager to start our long awaited trek and celebrate a birthday in the house! Luke turned 18 on the 20th and boy did we have a blast celebrating him on the mountain! Luke put on his personalized birthday sash and unicorn light up headband to show off the fact that it was his birthday! We fueled up on a delicious breakfast and set out to the trailhead to began our hike! We had a steep uphill climb to start that got our legs working and faces sweating. We then meandered through many meadows, passing cheese farms along the way. Every time we stopped for a water break, Holtie pulled some sort of snack out from his pack from almonds to cashews to skittles to m&m’s to cookies, this kid had it all! He constantly shared his snacks and treats with the group and our guides even nicknamed him “supermarket” for his outright generosity in sharing with others. We finally made it to our hostel for the night. Nestled in the mountains and trees next to a beautiful blue lake, we were in awe at our adorable hut. We devoured soups and pastas for dinner, and cake for dessert in honor of Luke! Afterwards, we played hacky sack as a group, a game involving a small beanbag you kick back and forth. Ellis got especially into the game and has sense then begged to play with the group every chance she gets. After exhausting ourselves from playing so much hacky sack, we moved on to a game called pterodactyl to bring back the energy. This game involves saying the word pterodactyl without showing your teeth and making your best dinosaur noises. Chase and Charlotte were the last two standing and their fierce competitiveness an dedication to the game had us all in absolute shambles. We were on the ground crying from laughing so hard. It was hands down one of the funniest things we have ever seen, and it’s no surprise it came from those two funny girls who always keep us entertained. After a great laugh, we moved into Moonup and headed to bed!
The next morning, we woke up to a thunderstorm outside and enjoyed a delicious breakfast as the sky cleared just in time for our second day of hiking! We ventured out to hut number 2! It was so foggy and cloudy, we were literally walking through clouds! It was wild! The group played trail game after trail game to entertain ourselves involving movies, famous people, objects, etc.! Katie Grace devastatingly lost the alphabet movie game round one with letter A, but made an impressive comeback when she rattled off many movie titles beginning with T! After naming every movie every made on that trail, we finally made it to our hut upon the hill! This hut had its own unique character situated in a clearing surrounded by endless mountains. We circled up for “Riddle Time with Woods and Parker,” where we share riddles with the group as they try to decipher them. Woods told his famous albatross soup riddle, and the group was feeling pretty stumped after lots of guessing, when it finally clicked with Frank and he shouted out the answer! The crowd was widely impressed with his creativity and imagination! We dined on barley soup and bread for dinner and gathered together for Moonup in one of the best spots ever. We like to call it our billion dollar view, because the location is just that good. We then fell quickly asleep in anticipation for day 3.
The next day we enjoyed breakfast before setting out to our 3rd trekking hut. With the clouds from the day before gone, we were excited to hike uphill over a ridge and see incredible views including the Adriatic Sea in the distance! We then descended down and explored bunkers and ruins from WW1. It was unreal to see these and learn about Slovenian history from Jaka and Alesh. We finally made it to our third hut. We settled down and enjoyed lunch together before heading out to the farm nearby. We toured the farm, seeing sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, and even a donkey before sampling their freshly made cheese! It was amazing and the group was simply impressed with the unbeatable taste! We continued to a nearby lake, which is just stunning. Most lakes are protected in the national park for environmental and ecologically reasons, so their beauty is quite unique. The bright blue and green colors of the lakes are what is most memorable! Here we did a giant group pyramid striving to create the best Moondance photo ever! Avery happily volunteered to go at the very top of the pyramid. After the group was steady in place, Parker hoisted her up to the top and they all posed for the picture! We can’t wait for y’all to see how adorable it is! After relaxing by the lake, we headed back to our hostel for dinner and Moonup before heading to bed!
On our fourth and final day of trekking, we woke up with energy and excitement for our last day. We shared an absurd dance party outside the hostel before beginning our descent down from the mountains. We sang songs the whole way down and reminisced on an amazing few days we had had. We arrived at the trailhead and Jaka and Alesh surprised us with Nutella crepes for a treat in honor of our hard work! We were of course so happy. We devoured every last bite and headed on to the Soca River Valley, saying bye to the gorgeous Julian Alps. We arrived at our campsite, home for the next 3 nights, as we explore the Soca Valley region, and settled in to our glamping tents. Glamping is glamorous camping and so we are living luxuriously over here in Soca Valley. The campsite is filled with games like volleyball, basketball, archery, ping pong, badminton, spike ball, etc. and so the group was excited to explore everything our home has to offer. Owen especially loved the basketball area, as he dominated the grassy court. He quickly befriended a couple of locals and had a game going with some of the other boys. In the late afternoon, we headed down to the river to cool off in the hot summer heat. The water was a bit chiller than expected but that didn’t stop us! We ran and jumped in and were all laughing and screaming! Ann threw on her googles, which strangely have eyelashes on them, and went sprinting in. I’m not sure whether the group was more confused or more tickled at her in the goggles, but regardless we got a good kick out of it. After swimming, we stopped to grab some well deserved post-trek ice cream! We then showered and freshened up for dinner and Moonup. Deyo, being one of the L.O.D.s, opened up the Nug Jug, a
Moonup ritual involving complements, by suggesting that the group interlock toes with the person next to them. As weird as this might sound to the outside world, every one in the group eagerly followed her lead and before we knew it all our toes were touching. It was strange but absolutely unforgettable. Thank goodness we have Deyo to always make us laugh! We then headed to bed excited for a restful night of sleep after trekking! We are so excited to explore the crystal clear waters of the Soca River over the next few days. We will update y’all soon!!!
Parker + Woods
Frank: I’m doing great there are great people. Gonna need PT’s when I get home. Love you
Deyo: Hey Mom, Dad, and Mills! I love it here and am having so much fun. Pls book me a massage when I get home. love you most
KG: Hey Mom, Dad, and Reeves!! I miss y’all so much, I hope you’re having fun in hp! It’s so so pretty here!! See y’all soon and love y’all sm!
Luke: Hi Mom and Dad I’m doing good I can’t wait to see you. The food has been very good here but I would like ribs when I get home. Love you
Owen: Hi mom and dad miss you a lot and the dogs. I am doing good I can’t wait to get back and see you love you.
Charlotte: Hey mom and dad!! Miss y’all so much, I’m having a blast here! The views are AMAZING and I can’t wait to show y’all all the pics! Love y’all,
Avery: Hey Mom, Dad, and Bella!! I’m having a blast!! It’s so much fun!! Love and miss y’all!!
Ellis: Hey Mom and Dad miss and love y’all I’m having a blast, seeing crazy things, see y’all soon
Holtie: Hey Mom and Dad and Coleman. I’m having such a blast here and love it so much. Miss y’all and can’t wait for some sushi cafe when I get home!!
Chase: Hola Mom, Dad and Arsie!! Food is good but can’t wait for my chick fil a buttered biscuit. Now fluent in three languages. Love y’all, miss y’all, hvala.
Ann: Hey y’all having a great time miss y’all miss Winnie. The waters a little more blue than DI gotta say. Love y’all
July 19, 2023
Wow!!! What a unique start to the session we have had! Despite many cancelled and delayed flights, we have had an amazing first few days. Nine out of our eleven group members trickled in to the Venice airport on Monday, excited for the weeks that lay ahead. We ventured to Kranjsa Gora, our home for the next two nights, in two separate vans. After devouring some much needed pasta, we hit the hay and fell fast asleep, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our last two members, Luke and Owen, the following day.
We woke up the next morning to enjoy eggs, bread, meats, and cheese for breakfast before setting out on our first hike of the trip! We hiked straight uphill into the Spik Mountain Range! Our hike went uphill over a pass and then meandered around some meadows and hills before we ended at a 360 view of Slovenia, Italy, and Austria all in the distance! Our Leaders of the Day, or L.O.Ds, Holtie and Ann, guided us up our hike checking in on the group, setting the pace, and keeping up the group morale. Both being experienced hikers, the group followed their lead through the beautiful mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous and we were surrounded by tress, rocks, snow, meadows, flowers, etc! Every type of terrain you can imagine! After a beautiful, but hot hike we made our way back down to our hostel to feast on some lunch. After lunch, we headed down the mountain to a lakeside park to relax by. Even though the water was freezing, considering it’s snowmelt, this didn’t stop the group! Charlotte jumped in first and the rest followed her lead! We all swam and jumped around the water screaming with joy! Charlotte was especially eager to swim in the freezing water and never wanted to get out. After waiting all day to meet the legends Luke and Owen the group was ecstatic to see three figures, Woods, Luke, and Owen emerge from the trees in the distance and walk towards us! We jumped with excitement! After finally being one big group we couldn’t be happier! Luke, excited to be in gorgeous Slovenia at last, immediately threw off his shirt and dove into the water! He wasn’t properly warned about the water temperature, so came up laughing and screaming from the coldness and definitely wide awake! After relaxing by the lake, we headed to a pancake and waffle stand to reward ourselves after a full day of activities! Deyo, first to get her stacked pancakes, shoved her face in the whipped cream in front of everyone as a joke! She had whipped cream and Nutella all over her and it was absolutely hilarious! She knows how to make us laugh. After our treat, we headed back to our hostel to shower and freshen up for dinner. At dinner, the group got on a riddle roll sharing and guessing many riddles. One riddle in particular got Ellis majorly invested. It involves an imaginary hat and trying to figure out who in the group has it at any time. It’s twenty four hours later and she still hasn’t figured it out. Send her good vibes, it’s driving her slightly insane! After dinner, the group gathered around for our first official group Moonup, our nightly, reflective ritual. We shared our reasons for coming on Moondance and our goals for the trip with one another!
We woke up the next morning, enjoyed a delicious breakfast and packed up to head out! We said bye to our adorable hut with a perfect view of the mountains and waved at the cows and sheep grazing on the nearby hills. We then hiked up to a super cool waterfall! Everyone was amazed at the force and power of the water and how pretty the sun was hitting the droplets! After, we continued on to Lake Bled! We threw on our bathing suits and raced into the crystal clear water excited to go for a swim. Owen led some of the group out to the middle of the lake where the water is its deepest. This is where the views of the famous castle are best. If we weren’t tight on time, we’re sure Owen could’ve made it all the way across! Meanwhile, Avery and some of the girls were performing cheer stunts in the water. Avery has never done cheerleading but was flying high above the water doing very special tricks! Good thing we have Chase, our competitive cheerleader, to coach us! After swimming, we fueled up on pizza lunch at a neat restaurant. Chase after expressing her love of cheese of course ordered at 4 cheese pizza! She obviously loved it. We then continued on to Lake Bohinj, our home for the evening. When the rain cancelled our afternoon of rock climbing, this didn’t stop us from having fun. We took paddle boards out on the lake and played around for hours. Frank was paddling around trying to flip others’ boards. Sneaky and fast, he was dangerous to be near out there! We then headed into town for dinner, where we dined on more pizza and other delicious foods! Katie Grace helped her table adventurously order calamari and when it came out, she was amazed at how fresh it looked. KG and Deyo then of course had a Photoshoot with their calamari and confirmed it was delicious! It’s been an amazing couple of days and we are so excited for the rest of the trip. We are heading out for trekking in the breathtaking Julian Alps in the morning and will update to soon!!!
Parker and Woods
July 18, 2023
Hello Slovenia Families!
We heard from our leaders overnight and the group has landed safely in Venice with all of their luggage and are headed to Slovenia! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!